With its annual developer conference BUILD kicking off this week in San Francisco, it is expected that one of the key focuses for Microsoft this year will be Artificial Intelligence. After an experimental "chatbot" named Tay made international headlines by spewing racism, anti-semitism, and Trump support last week, Bloomberg is predicting that Microsoft will have other, less offensive chatbots and interactive AI on display.
Along with Cortana, Microsoft already has another AI running in the wild, Xiaoice in China. This chatbot has been running successfully for 18 months and has much longer conversations on average than users have with Siri. With AI starting to receive real commercial attention, and all major operating systems beginning to ship a digital assistant on board, the drive for human-like interaction with AI is seen by Microsoft as a major new market.
Lily Cheng, in charge of the Microsoft Research lab where Tay was developed, says that Microsoft is not going to focus on perfecting an AI that can appeal to everyone or do everything, but rather a multitude of AIs, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.